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Spend a quirky Easter in Central America

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Easter is one of the best times of the year to visit Central America: from the 20th-27th of March the region comes alive with all sorts of festivities, from exotic processions to street parties, as part of the Semana Santa celebrations.

The Easter festivities in Central America draw similarities with historic religious festivals in Spain, but each country’s celebrations are strongly linked to their indigenous heritage, making a visit to Central America at this time of the year a unique and exciting experience.

Here are some of the most exciting events in Central America during Semana Santa.

Semana Santa in Antigua Guatemala:

If you are looking for vibrant Semana Santa Celebrations then Antigua Guatemala the place to be. The city begins the first day of Lent with mile-long processions of floats and religious statues carried by locals donned in purple robes, winding through cobble stoned streets. The tradition of making Alfombras (colourful carpets of saw-dust, flowers, fruit and other materials that adorn the streets) brings locals and visitors together.

Whilst the traditions reflect the religious influence from Spain 500 years ago, the carpets have a strong Mayan influence with distinctive Mayan symbols and nature scenes.

 

Semana Santa in Guatemala

Audley Travel offers a 13 day 'Grand tour of Guatemala' holiday which travels from Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Quetzaltenango, Lanquin and El Petén with departure dates during Easter week. The tour is priced from £4,425 per person including international flights. www.audleytravel.com/guatemala/itinerary­ideas/ultimate­guatemala 

Via Crucis Acuatico on Lake Nicaragua

Every year on April 10th Nicaraguans celebrate Via Crucis Acuatico, a festival that is only found in the country. The Viacrucis Acuatico event is made up of a procession of 40 boats which sail around the islands of Granada on Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. The boats are decorated with flowers and religious images of Jesus and travel to each island to receive offerings. Tourists and locals alike flock to the lake to celebrate Easter and admire the historic and beautiful procession.

 

Via Crucis Acuatico

Travel to Nicaragua with Exodus on its Highlights of Nicaragua'tour. The 13-day tour during Easter week from 20th – 27th March is priced from £2,059 per person including flights from the UK, accommodation, local transport, listed activities and some meals. www.exodus.co.uk/nicaragua­holidays 

The Arbol Granadillo in Panama

In the province of Veraguas there is a unique pilgrimage every year during Easter Week. Locals and tourists travel to La Trinidad on the west coast of Panama to visit the Arbol Granadillo, which is a flowering tree native to Central America. The tree only blooms once a year during Easter Week, so locals believe it is sacred and has powers to heal. Visitors place flowers and candles at the tree and pray for their health.

Arbol Granadillo

Kuoni has launched a 16 night Central America Panorama escorted small group tour that visits the highlights of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama, with a departure on 25th March coinciding with Semana Santa. Prices of the tour are available upon request. www.kuoni.co.uk/north­andcentral­america/central­america/tours/central­america­panorama 

The Holy Saturday Cross Country Race in Belize

Belize has celebrated the Holy Saturday Cross Country Race over Easter Weekend for over 80 years. Over 100 cyclists take part in the 140-mile race, which goes from Belize City to San Ignacio-Santa Elena in the west, and back to Belize City. The race started in 1928 to encourage people to cycle from village to village (and overcome the bumpy roads). The best way to experience the race is to get there early and stake out the best spots, which are at the start and finishing lines where the race is at its most exciting.

Holy Saturday Cross Country Race

Imagine Latin America runs a variety of holidays in Belize with departures during Easter week including a 13-night 'ltimate Belize Adventure tour which travels from the culture­-rich Mayan villages and Mayan ruins, to jungle wilderness and white sandy beaches. The holiday is priced from £3,900 per person excluding international flights. www.imaginetravel.com/holidayideas/the­ultimate­belize­adventure 

 

For more information on how to have an unforgettable Easter Week in Central America, visit: www.visitcentroamerica.com 




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